All week, athletes, celebrities, and community leaders have added to the dialogue about racial injustice in America. Yesterday, one of the Big Blue Nation’s finest chipped in his two cents. Former Kentucky star and current UK Sports Network commentator Rex Chapman wrote an op-ed for the Herald-Leader about his own experiences with racism, specifically how his friends, past girlfriends, and former teammates of color were treated differently than him by police. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time this morning. Here’s an excerpt:
I went to parties in the suburbs “country” where I grew up as a teenager in a town of about 50,000 people. I also went to those same parties in the projects. Because I came up in both places. And in both locations, underage kids were drinking, smoking weed, basically just behaving like teenagers. But I’ll give it to you straight: When the cops pull up to a bonfire out in the country, the kids don’t move a muscle. Because they all know nobody is going to jail. When your parents likely know the sheriff, the prosecutor or the judge, your mom and dad get called. You get in “trouble” at home. On the other hand, when cops pull up to a party in the projects, people run and scatter because they know they’re going to jail. They know they’re getting fined, beat-up, or even shot. I saw that difference first hand.
Since I was a teenager, I’ve been pulled over riding to practices, games, planes, etc. with black teammates driving too many times to count. And let me just say without being too descriptive — it’s a way different experience than being pulled over in a car full of white people. You might even call it terrifying. I don’t have to give my kids special instructions for when they’re pulled over. Because they’re white. My black friends all have to drill their kids on what to do and say when pulled over. Why is that?
Chapman also weighs in on the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and David McAtee, and responds to fellow former Cat Dwane Casey’s essay on racism from over the weekend. To read more, head on over to the Herald-Leader.